Bantamweight contender Pedro Munhoz just solidified himself as a title contender in his division. Paired up against former champion Cody Garbrandt at UFC 235, the Brazilian ended up on the good end of a back-and-forth brawling affair — which ended with a knockout win in the closing seconds of the bout’s first round.
In an interview with Combate, Munhoz explained he expected the fight to become a war and that his team’s gameplan was to use that in their favor.
“It was wonderful, it was exciting, it went down exactly how we planned. We started out working at distance, blocking his strikes, learning what he throws and how he telegraphs. He’s a very emotional fighter, we knew that sooner or later, he would expose himself in those wild exchanges. That’s where we would use it in our favor.”
Even though expecting to brawl was all a part of Munhoz’s strategy, the 32-year-old does admit he was a little bit lost in the moment and it became a battle of egos somewhere in the middle of it.
“Totally [became a clash of egos]. ‘F-ck it, I’m going to stand and bang with you.’ It’s all or nothing. That’s exactly what happened.”
Now, on a three-fight winning streak, with two knockouts and a victory over a former champion under his belt, Munhoz sees himself as a real contender in the bantamweight division and believes he did enough to warrant a title shot in his next outing.
“I do believe [I deserve to fight for the title], especially after knocking out a former champion. There’s now reason why I shouldn’t be the next challenger. Let’s see, I hope so. If not, Marlon [Moraes] is also a great athlete and has all the qualities to also become a champion in this division. There’s a possibility we could fight for an interim belt.”
Pedro Munhoz (18-3-1 NC) is on a three-fight winning streak, with wins over Cody Garbrandt, Bryan Caraway and Brett Johns. His last loss came back in March 2018, when he dropped a split decision to John Dodson.